Mama asked me the other day what was I thankful for. Then she explained what thankful meant: things I am glad to have, things I say “thank you” for, so I thought… “Lots of little cars.”, I said. And she seemed thoroughly unsurprised. When she asked if there was anything else I was thankful for, anything else I was glad to have, I added “Sweet Tea”. Evidently, she was looking for some other answer, so I just nodded as she asked, “Emerson? Your family? Books, puzzles, movies?” Yes, sure, all of those things, can I go back to building my railroad track now? She always wants to quiz me while I’m doing important work.
However, her questions did lead me to consider an upcoming holiday. In a few short weeks, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. This is traditionally a time to give thanks for the harvest, a time to gather with loved ones and share the blessings we have enjoyed through the year. We think we all know how it started, but what is the real history behind Thanksgiving?
Besides the very well-known Plymouth celebration in the early 1600’s, there is an even earlier well-recorded event that took place in 1619 in the beautiful state of Virginia. The arrival of thirty eight settlers, known as the London Company, in Charles City County was to be “perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving” according to their charter.
Wherever it originated, it had become a regular yearly festival by the 1660’s and the first national celebration was declared by George Washington in 1789. President Lincoln hoped to fix a date for Thanksgiving as a way of uniting the northern and southern states, but this was not achieved until after the end of the Civil War.
We enjoy a lot of different foods for this holiday, many that we only see once or twice a year. I thought it was pretty amazing that early settlers could boast such a feast, thinking of how limited their resources must have been. It turns out, the first celebrants of Thanksgiving were probably not enjoying potatoes, pies, corn, apples, many of our traditional ingredients. They had a lot of different seafood, venison, all kinds of fowl…including turkey. At least we got that one right!
I love the preparation of a Thanksgiving meal. Even though it is always a busy time, especially here at the Babcock House, there is something comforting about collecting the special serving dishes, setting up the buffet, awaiting a house full of guests and knowing we are all gathering to celebrate with gratefulness in our hearts. Many times, you depart the table knowing each other better, having something new to add to your list of things for which you are thankful. A good meal, full bellies, loving friends.
I hope wherever you will be, you have a fabulous Thanksgiving day. If you have not yet made plans for celebrating this year, we would love to have you join us. Daddy will be fixing turkey and ham with lots of yummy homemade sides and desserts. Tickets for our two seatings have already started to sell, so please give us a call if you are interested! Our number is (434) 352-7532. We will be very sad if you miss your chance to to share the holiday with us.